SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go is appealing to the Departments of Health, and Social Welfare and Development to bolster efforts to extend psychosocial assistance to individuals struggling with mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression and other more serious psychological issues.
“In this time of pandemic, we should also ensure that mental health is valued, promoted and protected. Aside from physical health, ‘yung mental health, napaka-importante rin po,” Go stated.
The Senator notes the ongoing pandemic and subsequent disease-containment responses have created conditions that are taking a toll on the mental health of many adults and children.
Public measures, such as social distancing and self-isolation, can cause loneliness and fear in people which in turn increases anxiety and stress. Moreover, people receiving mental health services before the pandemic may have been cut off in areas under community quarantine.
“Marami pong nade-depress dahil sa sitwasyon ngayon. In fact, nakakalungkot ang mga OFWs natin, napakatagal na napalayo sa kanilang pamilya. Alam ninyo, hindi nababayaran ‘yung lungkot. Napakahirap mapalayo sa pamilya,” he continued.
DSWD Secretary Roland Bautista revealed that concerned agencies led by DSWD and DOH are actively working to address the rising number of Filipinos seeking mental health treatment.
Over 150 individuals have availed of the agency’s online psychosocial counseling as of June 2020.
Despite this, Go believes the government can do more to lend support to Filipinos during the crisis.
This includes expanding existing mental health services, raising awareness about mental health issues, and addressing barriers, such as stigma, access and inconvenience, that discourage people from seeking treatment.
He encourages the aforementioned departments to take advantage of online platforms, such as social media and other technologies, which may provide free and greater access to mental health care and psychosocial support.